Sphinx: The Twisted Lies Of Yoga & Kate Moss

Last week the Guardian UK debuted images of a highly anticipated new work: a bronze sculpture cryptically titled Sphinx by Young British Artist Marc Quinn. It depicts a woman of ubiquitous beauty, supermodel Kate Moss, slithering hauntingly into yogic posture (specifically, Dwi Pada Sirsasana).

It’s not unusual for works of art to toy with irony, and this piece is no exception. Although images of Kate Moss may have ambivalently hinted at yoga, she does not practice yoga, nor does she lead a yogic lifestyle. Seven months ago, many of her biggest clients dropped her due to a drug scandle which erupted when the UK tabloid The Daily Mirror featured grainy photos of the supermodel cutting lines of cocaine.

But it's a more subtle sense of irony in equipoise that twists a deeper critique. As artist Marc Quinn elaborates, "This is not a portrait of a person, it's a portrait of an image twisted by our collective desires. She is a knotted Venus of our age." When we gaze upon this piece, we cannot help but be allured. But is she truly happy?

Many of you probably attend yoga classes, and this piece asks why. Why do you go to yoga? How many of you look at images of poses and try to physically emulate these ideals? Even as you strive towards healthy living, the twist is that perhaps these ideals amount to an unhealthy rat race. Quinn casts this symbolic beauty into a contorted idol. Sphinx is both the fruit and the folly of our desires. Here rests the irony of advertising, the lies set before us by celebrity and advertising: we measure our self-worth against the manufactured specters that are not real. Kate never did that pose.

"She's ubiquitous, she never speaks publicly and so she's someone who has this muteness, the silence that allows people to project onto her image, continues Quinn in the New York Times. It's certainly something to contemplate, the riddle of this new Sphinx, as you roll out your yoga mat: "Why am I practicing yoga?"

posted by
Spiros Antonopoulos

Remarks

3 total remarks for this post. Add your own remarks below.

Sun 23 Jul 2006 at 12:55AM

Little Bill

hi. this is a test. this is a test of the emergency contact system. this is only a test.

Sun 23 Jul 2006 at 01:11AM

William Bright

this is yet another test.

Sun 23 Jul 2006 at 01:13AM

SOmeone else

hi

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